It’s back

Petunia Pandemonium returns after road construction

Bothwell Middle School seventh-graders Carter Neadow, left, and Owen Johnson plant flowers along South Front Street in Marquette during Friday’s Petunia Pandemonium. The event was to continue today with public involvement. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — South Front Street is more colorful again.

The annual Petunia Pandemonium resumed on Friday with seventh-graders from Bothwell Middle School planting flowers along the east side of the street in Marquette. The event, run by the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc., did not run in its entirety in 2022 because of construction on South Front.

Barb Kelly, vice president of the MBRC who is chairperson of Petunia Pandemonium, helped oversee Friday’s event with the assistance of MBRC members.

“This is the southern gateway to Marquette,” Kelly said. “When we took on this project 35 years ago, it was full of abandoned gas stations, weeds. It was a mess. It look unkempt, and it wasn’t the kind of entryway you’d want your city to have.

“You want people to come in and sort of have a sense of anticipation when they come in because something greets them that really catches their eye or moves them.”

Kelly said the committee loves to have families become involved in Petunia Pandemonium.

“The children just learn community pride,” she said. “One thing that’s happened this year is it’s second-generation planters.”

For instance, Kelly said her kids helped water the plants about 30 years ago, and her grandchildren were to help today.

On Friday, a variety of annuals from Nagelkirk Gardens in Harvey were placed in their proper spots in the designated plots before the kids and their teachers arrived from the middle school. Varieties included lobularia, sweet potato vine, ageratum and other flowers — and, of course, petunias.

Kelly said about $80,000 has been raised for the new water system that will be used to keep the plants watered during the growing season. However, she said the committee is accepting more donations To donate, visit www.mqtbeautification.org.

The public was invited to help with this event today.

Bothwell student Owen Johnson said he enjoyed taking part in the event, noting that the project gives travelers a chance to view flowers entering the town.

“It feels really nice,” Johnson said. “I just like helping out the community.”

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 550. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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